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Explainer: How the Premier League's race for Europe can be won

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Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson celebrates scoring the winning goal in the Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson celebrates scoring the winning goal in the Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson celebrates scoring the winning goal in the Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns

The Premier League season is about to enter into its final week and the race to secure places in European competition took some dramatic twists and turns.

The biggest of those came at The Hawthorns, where Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker scored a dramatic injury-time headed goal to give his side a 2-1 win and keep them on track to sneak into the Premier League's top four places and qualify for next season's Champions League.

If Liverpool win their last two matches against Burnley on Wednesday and Crystal Palace next Sunday, they will reach 69 points and will be at least level on points with the team in fourth place.

Now all eyes will fall on Tuesday night's crunch game between newly-crowned FA Cup winners Leicester and the team they beat in Saturday's final at Wembley, Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea.

If Leicester win at Stamford Bridge, they will move on to 69 points and will secure their place in the Champions League for next season.

A Leicester victory would allow Liverpool to overtake Chelsea and move into fourth place with a win against Burnley the following night, with Chelsea's path to a top-four finish more complicated after their shock defeat against Arsenal on Wednesday and Liverpool's dramatic win at West Brom.

Chelsea could ease most of their worries by gaining revenge against Leicester, as it would put Tuchel's men in pole position to finish third heading into their final game of the season at Aston Villa.

Of course, Chelsea will have an additional chance to qualify for next season's Champions League when they take on Manchester City in the final of this season's competition in Porto on May 29, with five English teams going into the Champions League next season if the Blues win the final and fail to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

Unless there is a highly unlikely transformation in the goal difference stakes, Spurs will seal a place in European competition next season if they beat Aston Villa in front of 10,000 of their fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday night, after Everton dented their chance of a Europa League finish with a shock 1-0 home defeat against already-relegated Sheffield United.

However, they may need to win their final two matches to qualify for the Europa League, with only two spots up for grabs for English clubs in that competition for next season.

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The new UEFA Conference League will welcome the team that finishes seventh in the Premier League and Spurs will be keen to avoid that fate, as it will see them thrown into a third-tier competition against some of Europe's minnows.

West Ham are still in the mix for a European finish and appear to be favourites to seal seventh spot and a place in the UEFA Conference League, as they need four points from their final two games against West Brom and Southampton to book that finish.


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